Walking Festival - 23, 26 and 28 October, 2016

Clearing route For the first time, we entered three walks in Norfolk County Council’s Walking Festival. For the first two, we were walking from Thuxton to Dereham. A survey beforehand of our routes revealed one point where the path was flooded (albeit not to too great a depth), so we went out to cut back the hedge to allow people to walk safely past.

As it turned out, the water level dropped anyway by the following day, so it created no problem. A second location (the notorious underpass beneath the A47 in Dereham) was also flooded, but was just passable on the first occasion, and on the second was being dealt with by engineers from Highways England.

All three of our walks went well. On both Sunday 23 and Wednesday 26 October, about 20 people met at Dereham station to enjoy a drink included in the £5 ticket fee before taking the Mid-Norfolk Railway heritage diesel railcar from Dereham out to Thuxton.
Diesel Railcar
From Thuxton, we took a 7 mile route back to Dereham, planned to avoid walking on or along roads as far as possible.
Single file on boggy ground

Dog leads the way

Crossing field at Westfield

For some, the train ride was the high point, while for others it was passing through Wyvern Farm: we are grateful to Mick & Sarah Austin for ensuring that their very interesting livestock (alpacas and donkeys) were kept clear of the path while we walked through. Donkeys and Alpacas

On Friday 28 October, a smaller group of us had a more traditional walk, going from Dereham, past the Neatherd to Etling Green, then Northall Green and out towards Hoe to sample the Wensum Way, returning via Quebec Wood and Rush Meadow.
Group of walkers by sign

On all three days, the weather was kind to us, with quite a lot of sun on Sunday, rather less on Wednesday and Friday. As the Walking Festival had been part funded through the government, participants were asked to fill in some questionnaires: we were interested in the post walk one, which asked about how everyone had found the experience. We were very pleased to find the feedback was very positive - we saw 31 forms from the 46 walkers, and all said they had enjoyed it, with 17 saying it had increased their desire to walk. Most comments regarding what had been enjoyable were about the scenery and variety of the walk (16 comments) and the social aspects of the walk (13 comments). And when asked what could be better, there were 15 replies, 11 of which said ‘nothing’ (or an equivalent), and 2 of the others were about the weather. We have invited everyone who took part to let us know their email addresses so we can keep them informed about future walks and other activities: if you aren’t on this list but would like to be, just let us know at dtc.fpwarden@talktalk.net.

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